Marlies Extend Series Lead in Thrilling OT Win
The Toronto Marlies took care of business at home in the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals after earning a thrilling overtime victory on Sunday.
Miro Aaltonen provided the heroics in the extra frame, while Carl Grundstrom and Trevor Moore added goals and Garret Sparks made 35 stops to give the Marlies a 2-0 series lead.
Lehigh Valley opened the scoring just under eight minutes into the first on a Mark Friedman goal.
Moore had the Marlies response less than two minutes later, deflecting a point shot by Calle Rosen on the power play. Chris Mueller had the secondary assist on the goal.
Neither team could find the back of the net in the second but the Marlies maintained pressure on Phantoms’ netminder Alex Lyon, as Toronto held a 30-18 lead in shots after 40 minutes.
The Phantoms pulled in front again just 5:12 into the third as Mikhail Vorobyev scored but Grundstrom responded just 23 seconds later, breaking in down the wing and firing a shot upstairs to tie things once again.
Sixty minutes solved nothing and the two sides headed to overtime, both holding a 2-0 record in extra time this postseason.
Lehigh Valley thought they scored early but a video review confirmed it was the stick of Frederik Gauthier that broke the goal line, not the puck, and play continued.
Sparks came up with an enormous save just before the midway point of overtime, robbing the Phantoms’ T.J. Brennan with the glove to keep the game going.
Minutes later, Rosen fed a cross-ice pass to Andreas Johnsson who in turn waited before sliding it over to Miro Aaltonen who found the back of the net with a quick redirect. It was Aaltonen’s third goal of the series and fourth of the postseason.
With the win, the Marlies now own a 2-0 series lead as the action shifts to Allentown for Games 3, 4 and potentially 5.
The victory gives the Marlies seven straight wins and they remain a perfect 7-0 at home during the postseason.
Game 3 is set for Wednesday night at 7:05 and can be viewed on Leafs Nation Network and TSN 2.
Lehigh Valley: M. Friedman (2) (T. Brennan, D. Martel), M. Vorobyev (1) (Unassisted)
Goaltender: A. Lyon (44/47)
Toronto: T. Moore (4) PP (C. Rosen, C. Mueller), C. Grundström (5) (Unassisted), M. Aaltonen (4) (A. Johnsson, C. Rosen)
Goaltender: G. Sparks (35/37)
FROM THE SCORESHEET
- Trevor Moore scored on the power play at 9:34 of the first period. Moore is tied for the Marlies-lead with 11 points (4 goals, 8 assists) through 11 games this postseason.
- Carl Grundström scored unassisted at 5:35 of the third period. Grundström has seven points (5 goals, 2 assists) through 11 games this postseason.
- Miro Aaltonen scored the game-winner at 10:59 in overtime. Aaltonen has scored a goal in two consecutive games and has eight points (4 goals, 4 assists) through 11 games in the postseason.
- Calle Rosen recorded the primary assist on Moore’s first period goal and secondary assist on Aaltonen’s game-winner in overtime. Rosen has four points (1 goal, 3 assists) through seven games this postseason.
- Chris Mueller registered the secondary assist on Moore’s first period goal. Mueller has six points (1 goal, 5 assists) on the power play through 11 games this postseason.
- Andreas Johnsson had the primary assist on Aaltonen’s overtime goal. Johnsson has 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists) through seven games in the postseason and leads the Marlies in assists.
- Garret Sparks stopped 35 of 37 shots he faced against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Sparks is now 8-2 in the playoffs with a .921 Save Percentage and a 2.24 Goals Against Average.
- Toronto went 2-for-2 on the penalty kill and 1-for-5 on the power play.
- Toronto had a 47-37 edge in shots in all situations.
- Calle Rosen led the Marlies with seven shots on goal.
Goals: C. Grundström, D. Timashov (5)
Assists: A. Johnsson (8)
Points: A. Johnsson, T. Moore (11)
PPG: D. Timashov (4)
Shots: C. Greening (36)
+/-: V. LoVerde (+10)
PIMS: T. Dermott (16)
HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE
On the team’s resiliency tonight:
Yeah you could definitely describe it as resilient. I guess in particular with how we responded once again after letting them get the lead. We scored again pretty quickly after that. Resilience in that I don’t think we were at our best in the third period or overtime yet we found a way to win the hockey game so that’s good obviously for us. This time of year, it’s all about collecting wins. We were able to hold serve on home ice here and now we’ve got a chance to go out on the road and win a road game.
On the overtime winner:
I was happy to see him [Rosen] take the initiative in taking charge and attack the middle of the ice there. I thought Carl Grundström made a real good play against a real good defenceman that pinches him off. He finds Rosen – again takes the initiative to stay involved in the play and then real nice creativity and execution after that so real nice goal. They don’t always look like that in overtime but it was a nice one.
I don’t like to lose games and I definitely don’t like to lose games in overtime. So, when you get into an overtime period it just becomes, how many saves can you make and how long can you do it. I feel like if you keep doing it long enough you give your team a chance to capitalize.
May 23 at Lehigh Valley – 7:05 p.m. ET
May 25 at Lehigh Valley – 7:05 p.m. ET
*May 26 at Lehigh Valley – 7:05 p.m. ET
*May 28 vs Lehigh Valley – 7:00 p.m. ET
*May 30 vs Lehigh Valley – 7:00 p.m. ET
The Toronto Marlies will look to earn their second win in as many days and make the most of home ice advantage in their Eastern Conference Finals series against the Phantoms.
Coming off a 4-3 victory yesterday, the Marlies hope to take a 2-0 series lead before the series shifts back to Allentown.
Miro Aaltonen scored a pair of goals while Ben Smith and Adam Brooks added the others for the Marlies in the Game 1 win.
Entering Sunday’s contest, the Marlies are focused on reducing time spent in the penalty box after the Phantoms converted on two of four power play opportunities yesterday.
With a pair of assists in yesterday’s win, Andreas Johnsson continues to shine in the postseason as he now has 10 points (3G, 7A) since returning to the Marlies for Game 5 of the first round. Trevor Moore is tied for the team lead in points with 10 (3G, 7A) as well.
For the Phantoms, Chris Conner scored yesterday to extend the team lead in points as he now has nine points (5G, 4A) in the playoffs.
Puck drop is scheduled for 4:00 PM and fans can tune in on Leafs Nation Network, TSN 2, TSN 1050 Radio and AHL Live.
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Head to Head (2018 Playoffs)